Quote Of The Day

"Victory goes to the player who makes the next-to-last mistake - Chessmaster Savielly Grigorievitch Tartakower (1887-1956)"

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Buggles - The Lost Gig...

Last night Paul and I went a charity gig at the SupperClub london in glitzy West London.
And what an amazing night it was. It was the 1980s come alive again.
The Buggles were doing their first ever live gig, a mere 30 years after their début hit single, Video Killed The Radio Star. They were set to perform one of my favourite albums of all time; The Age of Plastic - in full for the first - and quite possibly, only - time ever.  Also on the set list was an assortment of hits from Trevor Horn's back catalogue and some tracks with special guest vocalists. Very special as it turned out.
Up first were OMD performing a couple of songs from their new album History Of Modern and then the wonderful ElectricityJoan Of Arc and Enola Gay. They were then joined on stage by their very own special and lovely guest, Propaganda / Act / Onetwo's Claudia Brücken who performed Duel with them.
After a brief break The Buggles appeared for real and stormed the place. They did the first side of The Age Of Plastic album note perfect. Then we were treated to Alison Moyet joining The Buggles on stage performing the Yazoo classics Only You and Don't Go and an amazing cover of the Grace Jones smash Slave To The RhythmRichard O'Brien then joined The Buggles for two songs from Rocky HorrorSuper Heroes and The Time Warp. And then we had 10cc's Lol Creme (who was an honorary Buggle for the night) performing I'm Not In Love with The Buggles as backing band.
The Buggles then continued with the second side of the album including both versions of Johnny On The Monorail. Paul and I went mad for Clean, Clean.'Natch.
As an encore the guys had one more special guest that had been kept secret until the last minute... Gary Barlow singing Otis Redding's Hard To Handle.
The Buggles then did a surprising cover of the Nicki Minaj / Will.i.am song Check It Out which itself heavily samples Video Killed The Radio Star - and Trevor Horn was doing the rap! Pop will indeed eat itself.
The gig finished at midnight. Two hours and fifteen minutes of utter bliss. Paul and I were quite beside ourselves. Best. Night. Ever.
Pix to follow.
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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Thames Water: Assessed Household Charge...

How much do you pay for your local water rates? Up until recently mine was £443.34 a year. But then I discovered a little known rate - something called the Assessed Household Charge.
First I asked for a free water meter from Thames Water. They came round, did a quick survey and said that it couldn't be fitted as I have a flat and there was no space for it under the sink. They then moved me onto the much cheaper Assessed Household Charge. So I how pay just £228.76 a year. Result!
Find out more about the Assessed Household Charge on these rather well hidden pages here and and FAQ here. What have you got to lose (but a fat bill)?
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Monday, September 27, 2010

Friday, September 24, 2010

Dubber Side of the Moon...

Easy Star All-Stars follow up their hit album Dub Side of the Moon with the even dubbier album Dubber Side of the Moon - featuring bass heavy remixes and double-dub versions of the complete Dub Side of the Moon. Should be great. (Did I say 'Dub' enough?)
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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Open House: The Royal Society...

Last weekend we went on Open House to see The Royal Society. The buildings are certainly well situated on overlooking The Mall and are pretty impressive inside too. Lots of oak panelling, august libraries and classical painting of scientific luminaries. More pix here.

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Open House: Bush House...

Last weekend we went on Open House to see Bush House - current home of the BBC World Service. The building does look amazing from outside - slightly less so inside though. We also got to see Studio S6 where Charles de Gaulle made some of his World War II speeches to the French peopleMore pix here.

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Open House: Benjamin Franklin House...

Last weekend we went on Open House to see Benjamin Franklin House. It was interesting to see where the old codger lived. Hey, they even had a kite with a key attached in one of the bedroom. But one more for the American tourists I feel. More pix here.

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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Shirley Valentine...

Last night Stu and I went to see Shirley Valentine at the Trafalgar Studios in London's glitzy West End. The one-character play starred the marvelous Meera Syal as Shirley, a middle-aged, working class Liverpool housewife. The play is a monologue focusing on her life before and during a transforming holiday abroad to Greece.
Originally performed at the Everyman Theatre in Liverpool in 1986, it reappeared at the Vaudeville Theatre in 1988 starring Pauline Collins and directed by Simon Callow. So successful was it they all transferred to Broadway and an award winning film was made in 1989.
Ms Syal was blooming marvelous. She acted her socks off, had us in fits of laughter and got the tone of the piece just right. Best line: "That's right, Millandra, I'm going to Greece for the sex! Sex for breakfast! Sex for dinner! Sex for tea! And sex for supper!"
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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Andrew Little's 50th...

On Saturday night Stu and I went to help Andrew celebrate his 50th birthday down at The Plough in Lordship Lane East Dulwich. We had a great time - although I soon got stuck into the big three no-nos at a party - religion, politics and sex. Great fun. We suffered for it the following day though.
More pix here.


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Monday, September 20, 2010

Protest The Pope March and Rally...

On Saturday afternoon me and 10,000 (30,000?) other people marched down Piccadilly, through Trafalgar Square and into Whitehall to protest against the Pope's state visit to Britain. Lot's of inventive signs were on display.
More pix here.
Why “Protest the Pope”? The diverse groups who support this campaign have many different reasons for not approving of the State Visit to the UK by the Pope in September 2010. They all however share the following view:
* That the Pope, as a citizen of Europe and the leader of a religion with many adherents in the UK, is of course free to enter and tour our country.
* However, as well as a religious leader, the Pope is a head of state and the state and organisation of which he is head has been responsible for:
1. opposing the distribution of condoms and so increasing large families in poor countries and the spread of AIDS
2. promoting segregated education
3. denying abortion to even the most vulnerable women
4. opposing equal rights for lesbians, gay, bisexual and transgender people
5. failing to address the many cases of abuse of children within its own organisation.
6. rehabilitating the holocaust denier bishop Richard Williamson and the appeaser of Hitler, the war-time Pope, Pius XII.
* The state of which the Pope is the head has also resisted signing many major human rights treaties and has formed its own treaties (‘concordats’) with many states which negatively affect the human rights of citizens of those states.
* As a head of state, the Pope is an unsuitable guest of the UK government and should not be accorded the honour and recognition of a state visit to our country.

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Friday, September 17, 2010

Les Misérables...

Last night Stu, Fay, Andy and I went to see Les Misérables at the Barbican Theatre. Oh, my giddy aunt - what a show! We are all big fans but nothing had quite prepared us for what we saw. It was breath-taking. We cried with joy and pain.
It was the brand new 25th anniversary production of Boublil and Schönberg's legendary musical with glorious new staging and spectacular reimagined scenery inspired by the paintings of Victor Hugo. The musical actually started out at the Barbican Theatre way back in 1985. And apparently this is the first time anywhere in the world that two productions of the same musical are playing in the same city.
Well we just loved it - from the moving (both senses) back-projection to the great set, from the fabulous acting to the great singing. There were show-stoppers aplenty (including one perhaps not on the running order).
We had great seats too! If you get a chance, go.

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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Brian Eno's Apollo...

Last night Ian and I went to see Brian Eno's Apollo being performed at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on the South Bank. Following two sold-out and highly acclaimed performances at London's Science Museum, pioneering ensemble Icebreaker and formidable pedal steel guitarist BJ Cole were bringing one of Brian Eno's best and most influential ambient albums to life. Apollo was written for Al Reinert's documentary For All Mankind on the Apollo space missions, although it took so long to make the film the music preceded it by six years. Music from the album also appeared in the films 28 Days Later, Traffic and Trainspotting. This show returned the music to its original conception - as a counterpart to this NASA footage from the Apollo programme - matching the mesmerising beauty and tranquil mystery of the Moon and Earth, and the dizzying scale and humbling feat of engineering involved in taking people to the Moon. The show was in two halves. Icebreaker initially performed three pieces. First up was an untitled orgasmic thumbing opener. Then we had David Lang's Cheating Lying Stealing - a rousing cacophony of orchestral flourishes. And finally Michael Gordon's Trance - originally in ten parts but we were just treated to parts I and IV. It was a sort of Tubular Bells for the atonal crowd. BJ Cole joined them in the second half for Brian Eno's Apollo proper. The music was a faithful recreation of the studio album. But this was overtaken by the NASA footage, which was stunning. Who knew they were filming anything but scientific shots up there? There was panning, fading in and out and arty shots aplenty. Very funny to see the compilation of all those astronauts tripping over the moon rocks. And all that golf! Great fun. The film won an Oscar. Deservedly so. And the music matched it perfectly.
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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Educating Rita...

Last night Stu and I went to see Educating Rita, part of the Willy Russell season at the Trafalgar Studios 1.
The story, in case you are unaware, is of Rita, a young, brash hairdresser, who has recently discovered a passion for English literature and enrolled with the Open University. This is much to the dismay of her husband Denny. Her tutor Frank, a bit a soak, gets caught offguard by Rita's fresh reaction to the classics.
Laura Dos Santos was excellent as the ambitious Rita as was Tim Pigott-Smith as "for dismissal it would have to be nothing less than buggering the Bursar" Frank. They both had big shoes to fill as Julie Waters and Michael Caine between them won awards for the 1980s stage and screen versions. Ultimately the play is about choice and gaining the wherewithal to have one. There must be better songs to sing than this...
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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Monday, September 13, 2010

Duckie 15th Birthday Party...

Last Friday night we went to the Royal Festival Hall to Duckie's 15th Birthday Bash. Featuring:- Brixton’s finest hip-hop dance chicks The Stylinquents, Senior citizen songstresses The Hoxton Singers, cardboard cut outist Robin Whitmore, hitparade hipsters Frisky and Mannishcuntry, Duckie A-Lister Tina C. and my favourite the wonderful hoola-hooping spectacularist Marawa. Oh, and the wonderful Readers Wives of course! More pix here.

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Thursday, September 09, 2010

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Hair...

Last Friday Stu and I went to see Hair at the Gielgud Theatre. For the fifth and final time. Not much more to say - I've said it all before.
We. Loved. It.

Lots more pix here.


Monday, September 06, 2010

The Lion King...

On Saturday night Dean, Mark and I went to see The Lion King at The Lyceum Theatre in London's glitzy West End.

It was as great a show as I remember it and we had seats right at the front so really got into the action. Mind you, I don't remember seeing that giant elephant the first time. Real wow stuff.

The music still sounds good after all these years and the actors were spot on their marks for both the singing and the dancing. The comic timing wasn't bad either.

The adult Simba wasn't quite to my taste - too many muscles and too light a voice - but minor quibbles aside it was, as I say, a great show.

Definitely worth a 1st, 2nd or 3rd look.
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Friday, September 03, 2010